Today I heard the sentence:

We recover stray animals from near-death.

But the use of near death seems quite awkward to me.

Can I use near-death as an adjective and make phrase like, near-death state?

How would a native speaker describe this?

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


It is awkward. I would not use "near-death" as an adjective. You could just say "We rescue stray animals that are near death."
In that use, "near death" is a prepositional phrase used as a predicate adjective.

There is also a word, "moribund", that means near death, but it's a word that doesn't connote being rescuable:
AHD: moribund

Not the same subject, but "rescue" may be a better word than "recover" used transitively.


I would use the expression brink of death:

We bring back animals from the brink of death.

Here’s a similar example in use:

Hermit crabs brought back from the brink of death

Here’s more examples of brink of death.

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